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5. “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper (1972)
Dedicated to those whose entire year revolves around this season, “School’s Out” celebrates that unforgettable feeling of triumphant freedom that comes the minute the final bell of the spring semester rings. This gritty rock song invokes the rebellious nature of “all the girls and boys” as Cooper proclaims, “Schools out forever!”
4. “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone (1969)
An oldie but a goodie, this soulful motown hit is happy-go-lucky, arranged so that each member sings a line reminiscing about they love most about summer. “That’s when I had most of my fun…those summer days.” Rarely do we hear someone talk about how awful their summer was. Full of pounding piano, funky bass and horns, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” immediately puts you in mind of all the good times had in summers gone by.
3. “Summer Love” by Justin Timberlake (2007)
Timberlake’s ode to summer lovin’ is one of the few pop songs that can take an electronic approach and still sound like an outdoor, summer party, as opposed to an air conditioned, dark dance club. “I can’t wait to fall in love with you / You can’t wait to fall in love with me / This just can’t be summer love, you’ll see / This just can’t be summer love” relays the inner monologue we go through when we meet that summer fling.
2. “Surfin’ U.S.A.” by The Beach Boys (1963)
Like any true beach boys, the musicians know where all the choice surf spots are, and not just in their own neighborhood. Describing the look of your typical beach bum, they list all the best surf spots in the world. The Beach Boys reworked Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen,” turning the tune into a classic summer song, complete with surf guitar and plenty of “ooohs.” The Beach Boys are practically synonymous with summer – they even have an album dedicated to the hot season: Sounds of Summer
1. “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts (1972)
If this song doesn’t immediately transport your mind to summertime, then you clearly need some “jasmine in your mind.” Despite the strange lyrics, “Summer Breeze” captures that feeling of laying out on a blanket in the grass somewhere, looking at and doing nothing for hours on end. The end of summer especially denotes a sort of bittersweet nostalgia that Seals and Crofts masterfully conveyed in “Summer Breeze.” A folk-pop tune packed with harmony, this 1972 number is a staple summertime song.